From 2020, all cars built by Jaguar Land Rover from sports coupés and luxury sedans to formidable SUVs will be offered in all-electric or hybrid guise.
The company made the pledge on Thursday while its CEO, Dr Ralf Speth, was taking part in a series of debates and discussions about the future of mobility at the inaugural Tech Fest event in London.
"We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale next year," he said.
To highlight its commitment, Jaguar also used the event to take the wraps off a fully restored 1968 E-Type roadster that is in the exact condition it would have been in on the day it arrived at the dealership, except in one very important respect. Instead of a 3.8-litre straight-six under the swooping hood, this car has been converted into a plug-in electric vehicle.
Called the E-Type Zero, it is a full second faster to 100km/h than the original E-Type and can cover 170 miles on a single charge. "Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We're looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market," said Jaguar Land Rover Classic's director, Tim Hannig.
The announcement comes on the same day that the ACEA (the association representing car manufacturers in Europe) announced that there has been a 38% surge in demand for alternative fuel cars across the continent over the past three months compared with the second quarter of 2016. The term alternative fuels covers plug-in electric cars, plug-in hybrids and hybrids, but it also includes vehicles powered by LPG, propane or natural gas.
However, the biggest demand is for hybrids and plug-in electric cars with electrically-chargeable vehicles (battery electric and plug-in hybrid) accounting for 1.2% of total car sales in the region over the last quarter.
The ACEA's data shows there has been a 41.9% increase in sales for electric cars across the entire European continent (that's 62,367 models sold) and a 28.7% jump in demand for plug-in hybrid cars (racking up 59,813 sales). And when mild hybrids are added into the mix, total sales jump to 213,252.
Jaguar Land Rover's announcement is perfectly timed, coming just weeks after France and the UK both pledged to eradicate the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040.
However, it is by no means the only high-profile carmaker to make the electrification pledge in recent months. Volvo is already committed to electrification by the end of the decade, and the VW Group, the world's biggest car manufacturer, is aiming to have a full range of electric vehicles on sale by the same date, starting with the Audi e-tron Sportback, which will be going on sale in 2019. VW claims the car will have a 300 mile+ range.
Likewise, Bentley is getting ready to launch its first ever plug-in hybrid, due within the next 12 months. Even Lamborghini is sizing up the pros and cons of battery assistance as it gets ready to enter the SUV market next year with the Urus.
Volkswagen's core brand will also launch a full, standalone range of electric cars including a hatchback, an SUV and a minivan based on the iconic Kombi transporter as the firm believes that by 2025, as long as legislation and infrastructure keep pace with automotive innovation, it expects one third of its annual global sales to be made up of electric cars. — AFP Relaxnews